Estate sale features historical DeKalb items

January 11, 2019

DeKALB – Have you ever wanted to own a piece of DeKalb history?

Items relating to the birthplace of barbed wire – such as Isaac Ellwood’s clawfoot bathtub or a wooden barbed wire model from the Haish factory – are for available for purchase at an estate sale this weekend.

The estate sale, held at the former Mayo house at 105 N. First St., will continue 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Unique items for sale include notched beams, a bed frame, a clawfoot bathtub, windows and doors from Isaac Ellwood’s house at 315 N. First St. and a drop-leaf dresser, marble table, chairs, butler pantry, brass light and a coal bin from Hiram Ellwood’s house at 329 N. Third St.

Other items for sale include a safe box, Bible and keys to the city of DeKalb owned by D. D. Brown, DeKalb’s mayor from 1895 to 1903, a book of autographs of the 1877 district representatives of the state of Illinois, wooden chairs from the former Ronan-Moore Mortuary and artwork by local artists.

The house itself is for sale for $745,000. The house, made from brick with a red sandstone facade, was built in 1897 as a private residence for Dr. Edward Mayo and his fourth wife, Harriet Ellwood, the daughter of barbed wire baron Isaac Ellwood. Dr. Mayo died in 1905, and Harriet Mayo sold the house to the Elks Club in 1922.

The Elks made additions to the north, west and south sides of the building, disqualifying the building from a listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Jim Hovis purchased the home when he read a newspaper article in 1994 stating that Walgreens hoped to purchase the home, demolish it and turn it into a strip mall. Hovis outbid Walgreens at auction to save the home.

“I’ve protected the house for about 30 years, now I hope to find someone else,” Hovis said. “It’s time for the next generation to protect and preserve this valuable asset to DeKalb, a cornerstone of DeKalb’s history.”

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